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                                                                                                                                                      The CHRONICLE Tuesday, November 24, 2009                    Page13


                           IMPORTANCE


         TI
                                                                                                                                                                                    when 9.7 percent of the annual
                     of tbe agriculture                                                                                                                                             budget was alloca,ted to the
                     sector         to tbe                                                                                                                                          agriculture' sector according to
          ,          (}--b    a n a'i"a n                                                                                                                                          the World Food Program.
          economy was manifest once                                                                                                                                                Particularly damaging to the
          again in tbe 2010 national                                                                                                                                               prospects          of      Ghana's
          budget statement presented                                                                                                                                               agriculture has been the low
          by tbe Minister of Finance                                                                                                                                               level     of investment            in
         and Economic Planning, Dr.                                                                                                                                                agricultural             research,
         Kwabena            Duf.cuor,         to                                                                                                                                   combined              witI:'      its
         Parliament ou November 18,                                                                                                                                                fragmentation into many small
         2009. The sector grew by                                                                                                                                                  and underfunded institutions.
         6.2 percent, against a target                                                                                                                                                  Making             Ghanaian
         of 5.7 percent,              driven                                                                                                                                       agriculture competitive also
         largely on accoUlit of good                                                                                                                                               depends on private sector
         rainfall patterns            and by                                                                                                                                       participation and investments
         extension of tbe'land 'under                                                                                                                                              in the sector. o.ne way to
         cultivation, suggesting that                                                                                                                                              guarantee private investment
         the sector call indeed be a                                                                                                                                               in the sector is to institute
         driver of growth when the                                                                                                                                                 land policy reforms that will
         conditions are right.                                                                                                                                                     provide          secure         and
             This growth is well within                                                                                                                                            transferable      land rights to
         the projected annual growth                                                                                                                                               private individuals. A vast
         rate of 6 - 8,percent for the                                                                                                                                             proportion of Ghana's arable
         agriculture sector for the                                                                                                                                                land (about 80%) remains
         next 3 years. Even though                                                                                                                                                 uncultivated, in part due to
        the     recent        agriculture                                                                                                                                          insecure property rights. Fast-
        performance             has been                                                                                                                                           tracking the enactment and
         impressive.         the lack of                                                                                                                                           implementation of a new land!
        productivity           growth         in                                                                                                                                   act remains the surest way to
        selected food crops '(maize,                                                                                                                                              go in order to streamline land
        rice), poultry and fish, brings'                                                                                                                                          ownership and administration
        to question the national                                                                                                                                                  in Ghana.
        vision of ensuring               food                                                                                                                                          The share of credit from
        security         for      all     and                                                                                                                                     the formal banking sector to
        increasing access of the poor                                                                                                                                             agriculture,      fisheries,     and
        to adequate,            food and                                                                                                                                          forestry (excluding cocoa) has
        nutrition. The World Food                                                                                                                                                 been generaJly low (9 percent
        Program notes.in its 2009                                                                                                                                                 according to recent estimates)
        Comprehensiye                   Food                                                                                                                                      as compared to other sectors
        Security and Vulnerability                                                                                                                                                (services, manufacturing and
        Analysis        report       that 5                                                                                                                                       domestic trade), mainly due to
        percent of the Ghanaian                     critical factors of production (e,g. paid to farmers at all times. This         not 'invest   in rural roads,                 the percei ved risks associated
        population or 1.2 million                   land), and other forms of modern       intervention is c,ritical as post        agricultural    research   and                ';"ith    agriculture.        Rural
        people have very limited                    technology         such     as    the  harvest     losses     continue     to   extension. rural schooling and                community banks/loans and
        access to sufficient              and       application ofirrigation.              bedevil the agriculture sector.          bealth care    - key   public   goods for     savings       associations       are
        nutritious food for an active                   Second and related to the          The Ministry         of Food and         agricnltnral       development-               beginning ~o bridge the credit
        and healthy life.                  '        above is the establishment         of AgrAculture        estimates       post   Govemm.ent spending is pne of                 gaps in the short term.
            In a bid to increase                    mechanization       centres in the     harvest losses to be 20-50 percent       the direct and efficient methods              However, in the long term, we
        agricllJtllre prOductivity, the             districts. These centres provide       for fruits, vegetables, roots and        of    enhancing       agriculture             may need to nnd ways to tie
        government          through the             smallholder farmers a perfect          tubers; and about 20-30 percent          productivity      and reducing                rural     savings      and loans
        Ministry        of Food           and       opportunity      to intensify    and   for cereals and legumes.                 poverty.     However,      'budget            associations more effectively
        Agriculture has embarked on                 commercialize their production                Launch-of the Sustainable         allocations to tbe Ministry of                to the broader commercial
        a policy of 'modernizing'                  through the hiring and use of Land Management Strategy and                       Food ,and Agriculture'        from           banking systems in order to
       agriculture.        A number of             tractors and other machinery,           Action Plan. This provides a             government      sources     remain           provide       greater financial
       strategies were outlined in                 though this may be'dependent on         framework          for      ensuring     considerably     low   -   it is estimated   intermediation                   and
       the 2010 blldget in pmsuit of               the availability and easy access       sustainable use and continued              to be less than 2 percent of the            diversification of risks.
       this policy goal. What are                  to credit.                             productivity of agricultu'ral lands.      total share of government                               CONCLUSION
       the prospects             for      the           Other budget projections           REFLECTIONS       FORTHE FUTURe          expenditnre       since the 1990s                  The 2010 budget certainly
       smallholder farmer? How                     expected to benefit smallholder             I have argued so far about           (Ministry        of     Food    and          provides hope for smallholder
       can the smallholder farmer                  farmers are:                           some unique prospects in the              AgricnJnm:. 2007) (this excludes             activity, which is necessary in
       position herself/himself              to             Availability and access to 2010 budget that smallholder                 itllocations to the cocoa sector)-           the      current      scheme       of
       take advantage               of the         farm inputs (fertilizer subsidy,       farmers can exploit to enhance            Efforts by past' governments to              agriculture modernization. The
       opportunities in the current                improved seeds and planting            their role and contribution to            transform        and     modernize           state needs, to put in place
       budget?                                     material).                             modernizing agriculture in Ghana.         agriculture ha.ve not yielded the            institutional arrangements to
             POSmVE OUTLOOK                                 Double cropping of staples    These need to be complemented             rigbt ontcomes due mainly to                 address some of the persisting
           The     2010       budget               (maize and rice) using existing        by interventions         in 3 areas       inadequate          funding     and          constraints identified in this
       provides a number of indirect               water bodies in all the regions.       (agriculture              financing,      investment      from government              article if the recent gains in the
       openings for the smallholder                This has the added advantage of agriculture land policy 'reform,                 sources- To reverse the trend, the           sector are to be sustained.
       farmer and/or Farmer Based                  engaging        farmers      in the    access to credit).           Lack of      Government of Ghana committed                Monitoring and tracking of
       Organizations      (PBOs) to                production processes all year          progress in these areas will              to allocating at least 10 pereent            budget implementation              by
       participate in the agriculture              round.            .                    impact negatively          on policy      of       annual        government            non-state actors is one way of
       modernization agenda aimed                          Establishment of a buffer      implementation.       The facts are       expenditnr'e to the agriculture              also ensuring that government
       at enhancing productivity,                  stock      management         agency   very familiar!                            sector in fulfillment of the 2003            stays committed to increasing
       First, the concept of block                 responsible      for holding food          Modern i zed/com merci al             AU Declamtion on Agriculture                 its support to the agricultural
       farming heavily driven by                   security     buffer     stocks and     agriculture,      or any scale of         and Food Security in Africa. So              sector (the food crop sub-
       government support should                   intervening in the markets to farming, will find it hard to                      far, the closest Ghana came to               sector especiaJly).
       enhance farmer's access to                  ensure that competitive prices are 'progress when governments do                 achieving this larget was in 200:6           .. -            ~

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